The Norman High boys struggled from a limited roster and lackluster offense in a 50-40 loss to Yukon Friday night at home, moving their losing streak to six games.
NHS (2-14) only rotated seven players and were missing four total, one of which was starting guard Jock Newson due to COVID-19 contact tracing, Tigers coach Rodney Dindy said.
The NHS offense wasn’t able to gain any ground throughout the game, making only 13 of its 42 shot attempts.
The Millers (4-6) struggled offensively as well, shooting 15 of 40, but were able to take advantage at the free-throw line, draining 15 of their 20 attempts, while NHS was 9 of 16 from the foul line.
“Offense was hard to come by,” Dindy said. “We’re battling the best we can. … It was a tough start offensively and we couldn’t pull away down the stretch.”
The Tigers opened the game with a 3-pointer from freshman guard Chiante Tramble. It was the only field goal Norman High made in the first quarter, allowing Yukon to go into the second quarter with an 8-5 lead.
NHS was able to keep the game close throughout the second period. Although Yukon started the quarter with back-to-back scores — a 3-pointer and a layup on a fast-break, both from Yukon’s Damontrell Adams — the Tigers were able to respond with a run of their own via layups from NHS’ Ray Holman and Connor Goodson and a 3-pointer from Cameron Locke to shorten Yukon’s lead to 13-12.
Goodson was able to bank in a 3-pointer at the buzzer to trim Yukon’s lead to 20-17 heading into halftime.
Back-to-back layups from Holmes and Goodson to open the third quarter prompted the loudest cheers all night, as NHS took its first lead since the first quarter, 21-20. A pair of free throws from Yukon’s Shannon Henthorn allowed the Millers to regain the lead, but Tramble responded by scoring five points with back-to-back layups, the latter resulting in an and-one play to put the Tigers up 26-24.
Yukon forward Colby Baker spoiled the Tigers’ advantage with two consecutive 3-pointers to put the Millers ahead 30-26. Yukon kept the lead until the final buzzer.
Tramble, NHS’ leading scorer with 17 points on 4-of-17 shooting, said due to the team’s missing players, fatigue was a major factor in the latter half of the game.
“For the most part, we were just tired,” Tramble said. “In the fourth quarter and third quarter, fatigue hit us.”
Next for the Tigers is three games against ranked opponents — at No. 20 Westmoore, No. 4 Norman North and at top-ranked Edmond Memorial.
Dindy said with players who missed Friday due to return soon, NHS will be ready, despite the team’s woes this season.
“We gotta continue to get better and play,” Dindy said. “We’re grinding. We’ll find a way. … We haven’t stopped playing yet. 2-13 — whatever it is — we haven’t stopped fighting. That’s definitely a good sign for these young guys.”